Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
FOREIGN MINISTER RETNO: (via interpreter) Distinguished colleagues from the media, let me welcome once again Secretary Blinken and his delegation to Indonesia, Jakarta. It is such an honor for me to receive the visit of Secretary Blinken. And in this occasion I wish to also convey my deepest condolences and sympathy to the government and the people of America for the devastating tornado that struck six U.S. states last weekend, resulting in casualties and injuries.
Colleagues from the media, yesterday Secretary Blinken paid a courtesy visit to President Joko Widodo, and today we just concluded a bilateral meeting. This meeting is our second bilateral meeting this year. And with Indonesia’s presidency at the G20 and coordinatorship of the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue, our intensive communication will continue to increase.
Today we discuss a wide range of issues, not only on bilateral cooperation, but also on regional and global issues. Allow me to start with the bilateral issues.
First, U.S. is Indonesia’s strategic partner. We are committed to reinforce our concrete cooperation, based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Both countries have many shared values, which is believed to strengthen our concrete strategic partnership.
For instance, democracy is one of the values shared by the two countries. I appreciate Secretary Blinken’s participation at the 14th Bali Democracy Forum on 9 December. The President of Indonesia was also invited, and participated at the Summit for Democracy, hosted by President Biden.
The U.S. is also Indonesia’s important partner in the area of security cooperation. Today an MOU on the extension of maritime cooperation was signed and will be effective until 2026. This MOU covers, among others, maritime security cooperation, marine resources, conservation, and fisheries management, as well as maritime safety and navigation.
In order to strengthen our security cooperation, we agreed to establish a 2+2 dialogue mechanism between senior officials from each ministries of foreign affairs and ministries of defense.
Second, commitment to increase economic cooperation. We have a strong commitment to increase trade and investment cooperation. Trade figures from January to October 2021 to reach $29.6 billion U.S., or increasing by 33.9 percent from the same period in the previous year.
In 2020, U.S. investment in Indonesia reached $749.7 million U.S. And from January to September 2021, U.S. investment reached $1.3 billion U.S., increasing by 73 percent only within just 9 months. Indonesia conveyed its hopes for the U.S. to continue granting GSP facility. Investment opportunities in Indonesia are wide open, including in health sectors, digital, as well as energy transitions.
As a follow-up to the Supply Chain Summit in Glasgow, where the President of Indonesia was also invited by President Biden, Indonesia encourages for an intensified cooperation, as well as the establishment of a task force on supply chains.
On development cooperation, Indonesia appreciates U.S. increased commitment within the framework of Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact II for sustainable development projects in Indonesia, such as green economic development, digitalization, and access to funding, as well as gender equality and financing for women-owned MSMEs.
Third, I wish to particularly thank U.S. support for Indonesia during the pandemic. As many as 25.4 million doses of vaccines were donated by the U.S. to Indonesia through the COVAX facility, including an additional 7 million doses which arrived yesterday.
Still on health cooperation, in the long run, Indonesia hopes that both countries could cooperate in the development of MRNA-based vaccine technologies.
Fourth, we are also committed to increase education and people-to-people ties. Today we signed an MOU on education, and renewal of the MOU on Peace Corps cooperation. We have also discussed on the strengthening of cooperation on vocational education.
Colleagues from the media, apart from bilateral issues, we’ve also discussed numerous regional and global issues. First, Indonesia appreciates U.S.’s support for Indonesia’s G20 presidency. Indonesia hopes that the U.S. could become one of the key partners for concrete cooperation that the G20 could offer to developing countries.
Second, we also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan. I mentioned Indonesia’s proposal to increase humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Indonesia also plays an active role in the OIC, and is one of the initiators of the OIC ministerial meeting which will discuss humanitarian assistance that will be held in Islamabad. Indonesia conveyed that women empowerment will continue to be one of our priority cooperation with Afghanistan.
Third, on Myanmar. Indonesia appreciates the U.S.’s support for the implementation of ASEAN’s Five Points of Consensus. Indonesia will continue to contribute to restoring democracy in Myanmar through inclusive dialogue, in accordance with the Five Points of Consensus. Indonesia will also continue to follow closely the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar.
Finally, on the South China Sea — on the Indo-Pacific (inaudible), ASEAN has four priority cooperation. It is time for ASEAN to implement these four priorities with its external partners in an inclusive manner, mutually beneficial, and concrete cooperation will contribute in the attainment of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Indonesia hopes that the U.S. will partner with us in implementing concrete cooperation within the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
That is all for me. And now I wish to invite Secretary Blinken to share his thoughts.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Retno, thank you so much for the wonderful hospitality, but also the extremely productive meeting that we had. As I mentioned, I was deeply appreciative of the president’s time yesterday (inaudible). And he and President Biden had an extremely positive and productive conversation in Glasgow. President Biden asked me to follow up (inaudible) in our work, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity to do it.
You covered so well and so (inaudible) the conversations that we had, the tremendous amount of ground we covered both in terms of the bilateral relationship, the regional work that we do together, and the global work, particularly with Indonesia’s leadership next year of the G20. And all I can say is I’m in agreement with everything and it reflects extremely well (inaudible). We have a strong commitment to the strategic partnership with Indonesia and a strong commitment to engage across the Pacific as an Indo-Pacific nation ourselves.
I had an opportunity this morning at the university to go into more detail about the common interests that I think we have for the future (inaudible) the Indo-Pacific, one that is reflected in the (inaudible).
Let me just speak very briefly to what we just did, the agreements that we just signed. I think they illustrate the work that we’re doing together, and it was really an honor to be able to do that. We are taking steps, we’re deepening and strengthening the cooperation between our countries in key areas – areas that are really going to have an impact on the lives of our citizens.
So, as the minister said, we are deepening our cooperation on maritime issues, including maritime security, resource management, fisheries conservation, safety of navigation, on economic activity, science and technology. In this region where so much happens by sea, particularly so much commerce happens by sea, and at a critical moment when the climate crisis threatens our oceans, our waterways, our coasts, marine life, cooperation on maritime issues is particularly vital and I would argue now more than ever. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Second, as was noted, we updated the bilateral agreement that our countries signed back in 2009 and re-established the Peace Corps program after it was closed for more than 40 years. Since 2009, American volunteers have worked with Indonesian programs across the country teaching English, training teachers, living with families, learning local languages. It’s a wonderful program that represents the friendship between our countries and, in many ways, the best of our countries.
And third, as the minister said, we are strengthening through the last agreement we signed our collaboration in education. We have thousands of (inaudible), tens of thousands of Indonesians having participated already in educational and leadership exchanges between our countries over the years. This is a powerful source of strong people-to-people ties, and what’s so important about it is those are connections that will last for years, generations, and that really is the foundation of everything we’re doing.
So I would just say in closing that I am grateful to Indonesia for this partnership, and it’s just going to grow stronger thanks to the agreements we signed today, but also thanks to the work that we’re doing here. Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER RETNO: Bye, guys, and thank you very much. (Applause.)